Title: Infinite Power Over The World
Original title: 权倾天下[重生]
Author: 叶默凉(Ye Moliang)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
Ever since revenge had been achieved, it seemed like Shen Ci had become a different person. He often played some harmless pranks with Murong Heng. His cheerful demeanour was in utter contrast with his previous reticence. Of course, Murong Heng was thrilled with this change in him.
Three months inadvertently passed. Lately, Murong Heng had been bogged down by a great deal of court affairs, and the time had arrived for the surrounding countries to pay the once-every-three-year tribute. As a consequence, Murong Heng would often be in the imperial study, managing affairs, and only return to the imperial bedroom in the middle of the night. Regardless of whether Shen Ci was asleep or not, each time he returned, there would always be a candle left alight for him, and a warm feeling emerged in Murong Heng’s heart.
In the past, when he returned in the middle of the night, he could only lie alone on the cold bed. But now it was different. With Shen Ci around, even the quilt had been warmed up.
Murong Heng smiled slightly and went to take a bath first to wash away the exhaustion from his body. Then he returned to the bedroom and flipped onto the bed. Shen Ci, who was already asleep, sensed his return. He consciously turned his body and nestled into Murong Heng’s arms. Murong Heng reached out to hug him tightly and nuzzled the top of his head. But Shen Ci, in his arms, suddenly sighed softly. When he raised his eyes to look at Murong Heng, his eyes were clear, and he wasn’t asleep.
“Why aren’t you sleeping?” Murong Heng was taken aback when he saw this and asked softly before moving closer to his face to kiss him gently.
Shen Ci didn’t respond. He turned around and withdrew from Murong Heng’s embrace to lie flat on the bed. He stared wide-eyed at the top of the bed directly. After a long while, he said, “You’ve been back late recently.” His tone was very light, carrying a trace of grievance with it.
“Uh?” Murong Heng was caught off guard again, and it took him a long time to realise that his Ah Ci was grumbling to him. He quickly reflected on himself. Recently, he often came back late because of court affairs, and sometimes he would even stay out all night. So it’s no wonder his Ah Ci would say such a thing. With this thought, he turned sideways, pulled Shen Ci into his arms, and said, “I’m sorry, I’ve been neglecting you.”
That’s right, it wasn’t easy for the two of them to finally be together. He’d been so busy that he actually forgot to accompany Ah Ci. He truly deserved death. Shen Ci’s words were firmly recorded in his heart, and since that night, Murong Heng has never returned late, no matter how busy he was during the day.
A few days later, the time to pay tribute had arrived. On that day, the imperial palace set out the banquet early. It was a time-honoured custom to hold a state banquet when all the countries came to pay tribute. As such, Murong Heng also got up early this morning.
Shen Ci, who was lying on the bed, was awoken by the movements of Murong Heng getting up. He was no longer sleepy and simply got up with him. He watched as Murong Heng stood in front of the bronze mirror, surrounded by four palace maids, preparing to dress him. Shen Ci walked over and told the palace maids to withdraw. Then he looped his arms around Murong Heng’s waist from behind.
“What is it?” Murong Heng asked softly as he watched him approach and felt his arms gently encircling his waist.
Shen Ci shook his head and pressed his cheek on Murong Heng’s back. After that, he took a step back and walked in front of Murong Heng. He carefully helped him put on his clothes and fastened the complicated buttons around his waist. Just as Shen Ci was straightening out the clothes of the man before him, his hands were suddenly grasped by Murong Heng.
“Ah Ci, you truly look like a veritable empress now.” Only a wife would help her husband dress and sleep in the same bed as him.
When Shen Ci heard his words, he threw him a helpless glance, then withdrew his hands and said, “Enough. Go on. I’ll wait here for you to come back.” After speaking, he wanted to turn around and leave, but his wrist was grabbed by Murong Heng. He turned to look at him doubtfully.
“I am the noble emperor of this country. The state banquet is such an important affair; how can the empress not go?” Murong Heng smiled and pulled him into his arms. He allowed him to lean on his chest, then he bowed his head and kissed Shen Ci’s cheek.
“Who is your empress?” Upon hearing that, Shen Ci glared at him, but there was a constant smile in his eyes. The two fooled around for a while before walking towards the main hall, hand in hand. They made their way up from the back. Shen Ci sat next to Murong Heng; the beaded curtain in front obscured his figure. From the perspective of the ministers, he was faintly visible—neither completely blocked nor permitting others to get a glimpse of him.
The state banquet soon began, and the surrounding countries presented their tributes one after another. Some were rare porcelain, and some were ancient, renowned jewels. Although these tributes were luxurious, Murong Heng didn’t like any of them. He initially wanted to choose the best one among them to gift to Shen Ci. Unexpectedly, there was nothing that was able to make the person beside him smile. He couldn’t help frowning a little and was somewhat anxious.
Next came the tribute of Bailiu kingdom. Although the name of this country sounded like a water-bound town in Jiangnan, all of them actually lived in the vast desert. It could be said that it was a country built on horseback. Fortunately, they had been calm and peaceful throughout these years and had no issues of disloyalty. However, Murong Heng knew that he had to remain guarded.
“Greetings, Your Majesty. Long live the emperor.” The Bailiu kingdom’s emissary was half-kneeled on the ground with nothing in his hands. The surrounding ministers thought that he did not bring any tribute, and they started discussing.
Murong Heng eyed the emissary of Bailiu kingdom, who was kneeling under the platform. He raised his eyebrows slightly and said, “Emissary, please get up.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” The emissary of Bailiu kingdom slowly stood up, then revealed a slight smile as he met the curious gazes of the people around him. He glanced outside the hall and said in a deep voice, “Your Majesty, the tribute that our country wishes to pay is outside the hall. Please wait for this subordinate to bring it in.” As he spoke, the emissary walked out, and under the curious gazes of Murong Heng and Shen Ci, he carried in a little lion cub. The well-behaved little lion nestled in the emissary’s arms like a big cat. “Your Majesty, this is a unique lion species from our country. It does not fear wind and sand and can survive in a water-scarce environment for a long time. Therefore, we specially present this lion to Your Majesty. We hope Your Majesty likes it.”
While the little lion cub was being brought over, Murong Heng noticed that, next to him, Shen Ci’s gaze had suddenly lit up. Knowing that Ah Ci liked the little lion cub, he asked Ming De to go down and carry it up, and he rewarded the emissary with some treasures.
Once the tribute ceremony was over, the state banquet officially began. Murong Heng asked Shen Ci to sit beside him and watch him tease the little lion in his arms. Seeing him happy, Murong Heng was naturally overjoyed and unconsciously drank a lot.
Two hours later, the officials dispersed, and Murong Heng took Shen Ci to the imperial bedroom. Seeing Shen Ci continuously holding the little lion, he smiled and said, “Ah Ci, do you like it very much?”
“Yes.” Shen Ci nodded lightly as he stroked the little lion’s head with his right hand. He smoothed its fur and saw the little lion writhing and changing positions in his arms before stretching out his big, warm tongue and licking his palm. Shen Ci laughed softly, raised his eyes, and said to Murong Heng, “Murong, I have already named it. It’s called Xiao Heng; what do you think?”
When Murong Heng heard the words, it was like he’d become unexpectedly caught in a maelstrom. Xiao… Xiao Heng? No matter how this name sounds, it feels like addressing a lover! By the time he’d regained his senses after a while, and just as he was about to redress the matter, he saw that Shen Ci had left at some point and was having fun with the little lion in the imperial garden.
Murong Heng reluctantly asked Ming De to make tea and deliver it to the pavilion. He then sat there and watched Shen Ci have fun with the little lion. Xiao Heng… he’d never called him so intimately before, but the favour had been bestowed upon a lion—and to top it off, it was a male!
But this was merely the beginning. The next afternoon, Shen Ci kept playing with the little lion, completely neglecting him—this life-sized person—to endure the blustering cold wind alone in the pavilion. Murong Heng’s eyes narrowed a little. Deep in his heart, a huge vat of vinegar overturned.
After a while, seeing that Shen Ci still had no intention of coming to him, Murong Heng abruptly stood up with a huff. He strode towards Shen Ci, and amid the latter’s stunned expression, he chucked the little lion aside. Then he pulled Shen Ci into his arms, lowered his head, and kissed him vigorously.
It was a long time before Murong Heng released the man in his arms. He raised his hand and gently wiped away the silver thread from his lips, met his clear gaze, and said with dissatisfaction, “Ah Ci, you’ve been playing with this little beast for literally a whole afternoon.”
Shen Ci was taken aback after listening. Was Murong Heng jealous? But before he could reply, his body was picked up horizontally. He tilted his head and glanced at the little lion on the ground. Seeing that it was twisting and rolling to keep up, he was relieved and focused on leaning into Murong Heng’s embrace.
When they arrived in the imperial bedroom, Shen Ci was placed on the bed. Murong Heng stood by the bed and stared at him for a long time. He prepared to have a good talk with his Ah Ci and reinstate his position as the husband! Just as he was about to climb onto the bed, he caught sight of a yellow form zipping past and jumping onto the dragon bed.
“Little… Heng!” Murong Heng gritted his teeth as he choked out the name of the little lion. It felt a little odd when he finished speaking; why did it feel like he was calling himself? With a cold snort, he tossed the little lion off the bed and asked Ming De to carry it out. Then he drew the bed curtains closed, not caring if it was still broad daylight. He rushed forward onto the bed and kissed Shen Ci’s lips.
After kissing for a long time—until the person in his arms was at the point of suffocating—Murong Heng let him go. The resentment in his heart had abated a little. Some time later, he lowered his head to bury it in Shen Ci’s neck. He nuzzled lightly and said, “Ah Ci, don’t neglect me.”
Shen Ci was dazed when he heard that. He’d complained to Murong Heng before, not to neglect him. But wasn’t he the one neglecting him now? He thought like this, then put his arms around the person on his body and nodded slightly: “Alright.”
Now that their feelings were in tandem, Murong Heng suddenly felt the depressed vacuum in his heart relax. He got off the bed and pulled Shen Ci off as well. After straightening both their lapels, they walked out of the hall.
Shen Ci took the little lion back from Ming De, and the two came to a courtyard. He held the little lion in his arms, lowered his head, and made it look at Murong Heng, saying, “Xiao Heng, this is Murong. You have to listen to him too, understand?”
However, the little lion obviously remembered what Murong Heng had done to him previously and wasn’t fond of him. He didn’t even spare him a glance and kept cuddling into Shen Ci’s arms.
Seeing this, Murong Heng took a deep breath and deliberately grabbed the little lion into his arms. Unexpectedly, the little lion immediately showed its claws to him and even let out a low growl. It glared at him with dissatisfaction, unwilling to be held by him at all.
Shen Ci helplessly took the little lion back, and he spoke convincingly to make the little lion allow Murong Heng to hold it for a while. He simply sat to one side and let Murong Heng play with the little lion in order to foster their relationship.
As such, the little lion purposely scampered around in the courtyard, causing Murong Heng to sweat profusely but was unable to catch up. After a long time, Murong Heng collapsed beside Shen Ci, gasping for breath: “This little beast! I want to send it back to the Bailiu kingdom!” It had only been a day since he arrived, and he was already bullying him—the emperor of the country! It was most exasperating!
Unexpectedly, not only did Shen Ci not console him, but he laughed out loud instead. When he saw Shen Ci like this, Murong Heng could also help laughing. Forget it, as long as the beauty is happy, so what if he has to tire himself out to make him smile?